It’s no secret that Trump is fond of using shocking language when talking about women. Between saying about his daughter “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
And bragging – which he is remarkably good at doing – that “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
I was beginning to think that nothing Trump said could shock me. Last week, however, a recording has emerged that left most people either speechless or shouting their disgust from the rooftops. I must confess that until now, I have been the former.
The thing is, what can I, as a woman who has experienced assault, say? I feel like I’ve already said it all. Why would my reaction to Trump treating sexual assault as a bit of fun be any different to any other man?
After taking some time out to think about it, I think I’ve finally worked out how to put my thoughts into words.
Let’s go back to the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre. I don’t know a single person on the LGBT+ spectrum who didn’t break down in tears as the news was coming through about this particular shooting.
The reason for that isn’t just that we’d lost members of our “family”, but because it was a stark reminder that there are people out there who will stop at nothing to see us dead. All because of who we are and who we love.
I think the reaction from women to Trump’s remarks about “grab them [women] by the p***y” is for a very similar reason. It’s a reminder that there are men out there who think it’s perfectly acceptable to treat women like property.
It’s a reminder that our safety when we’re walking down the street or going to an event is never guaranteed.
There’s also the fact that Trump, and others like him, think that a simple “oh I was foolish and sorry if you were offended” is sufficient in this situation is extremely worrying. It suggests that he doesn’t understand the true impact of his words.
I’ve watched as my female friends who have experienced assault mirrored my thought process in their reactions. Assault has the potential to turn someone’s life on its head, affecting current and future relationships.
We all know the tale of a father telling his son to drop a plate on the floor and apologise to it, only for the damage to remain. I personally think someone needs to pound this message into Donald Trump’s head because it’s the same concept.
You cannot shatter a woman’s perception of her self-worth and of love and expect the word “sorry” to undo the damage.
As for the people defending Trump’s remarks, they were not simply “foolish”. They were downright damaging.
If you want to vote for Donald Trump, fine. However, look around you and ask yourself if you really want your daughter, sister, niece, etc., living under a president who thinks the size of his bank account provides immunity from the law?
Do you want the girls of this country growing up believing that if a man is rich, he has the right to do what he likes with her body?
There’s also the fact that the suggestion that assault and infidelity are acceptable and normal activities for a man to partake in is actually rather insulting to men who know the difference between right and wrong.
Nothing can undo the damage caused by assault, which is why it’s about time we started to educate everyone that assault is not okay. No, Donald Trump, it’s not okay to just go in for a kiss with a virtual stranger without waiting to see if it’s okay, I don’t care how big a “star” you are.
What you are talking about is assault, it is a crime, and it is not okay.
You can follow Megan’s other writing at her own website at meganhaste.co.uk.